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I have been alarmed by the increasing incidence of alcohol and drug abuse, especially among teenagers.  Users are getting younger; even children as young as eight years old have been found using various mind-altering substances.  This issue of the Psychotherapy Update will be somewhat different from previous issues in that rather than being an essay it will focus on giving you information about the various treatments available for alcohol and substance abuse in the hope that it may help you or someone you know obtain the treatment needed.

Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use is the cause of more deaths, illnesses, and disabilities than any other preventable health condition and seriously undermines America’s family life, economy and public safety1.  For the past few decades, national surveys have consistently shown that about 10 percent of American adults have significant problems related to their own use of alcohol.  In addition, about 25 percent of adults have reported that they use tobacco on a regular basis and about 7 percent use illegal drugs.  The following are some additional alarming statistics:

·    In the 1960s, 7 percent of new female drinkers were ages 10 to 14.  Today the figure is at 31 percent.

·    Inhalant use is most prevalent among young children and usually entails inhaling household items such as shoe polish or paint thinner.  More than 1,000 products widely available in households can be used as inhalants.

·    There is a direct connection to the use of methamphetamine and the American work ethic.  As many as 9.4 million Americans have used the drug at least once.

·    Everyday 3,000 kids start smoking and a third of them will eventually die of tobacco related causes.  Two of three 12 to 17year olds who smoked cigarettes in the last year show signs of addiction.

·    A survey of American teens found that one in four said they had a friend or classmate who had used Ecstasy; 17 percent said they knew more than one user.

·    Two thirds of Americans with serious substance abuse treatment needs are not being treated.

·    6.4 percent of Americans age 12 and older used illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs.

·    15.3 percent reported that they had engaged in binge drinking in the past month and 5.4 percent drank alcoholic beverages heavily.

[Please add your thoughts and experiences on this topic in the comment section of this blog.  This blog is intended as a forum for folks to raise issues, share experiences, and promote dialogue on important issues of contemporary life.   Please sign up as a Facebook Fan at www.docdreyfus.com/fanpage. For additional information about me and my practice, please visit my website at www.DocDreyfus.com.]